I’m a huge fan of “dirl-power’ types of stories, where heroines set off, despite all odds, on a path that leads to their own happiness, regardless of gender-norms. Tamora Pierce was a favorite of my daughter with her Lioness series, and Dina L. Sleiman has created a character in Gwendolyn that is sure to please those readers looking for a similar feel from a read. Please read on for my review of Chivalrous…
Nine times out of ten, an author can grab me with a synopsis that brings to mind earlier favorite reads, and I do tend to zone out after that, missing other bits of information. That certainly happened when I grabbed Chivalrous for review, the character of Gwendolyn instantly reminded me of an earlier favorite (Alanna from Tamora Pierce) and I wanted to see the evolution of a strong medieval era female character could be in the hands of a different author. While I normally am not seeking out ‘Christian” titles, I also am familiar with the evolution of religion and personal devotion in daily life, and while there is significant page time focused on devotions, prayer and personal relationships with God, the moments did fit and flow nicely, and added to the relationship and story trajectory.
Gwendolyn wants only to be a knight, but like all females of a certain class, she is expected to be little more than an advantageous offering in the game of wealth and alliances that were very common in medieval times. Completely disheartened by the prospects she sees before her, she makes a plan to have one moment of glory before a lifetime of perceived duty and drudgery.
Allen has left what he knows, in search of more: better leadership, a closer relationship to what is “right” in this world, and perhaps love. Arriving at the tournament, he comes face to face with what could be, if only he and Gwyn can find a way.
Plenty of twists and action keep the plot moving forward, with a touch of magic and sorcery that is, as one would expect, treated as strange and wrong in terms of the character’s beliefs. Still, the disregard for the magic, while carrying a solid negative tone, was well-presented and gives readers another perspective on magic, a learning experience buried within the story. Engaging and intriguing, with only a few backroad diversions into faith, the story moved smoothly and presented some truly good-hearted and honorable characters. Most importantly, the story gives equal time and self-determination to the characters, showing viable conversations, relationships and development for both primary and secondary characters.
A fun read that is appropriate for tweens through teens, the historical elements are clearly presented, lushly described and wholly evocative.
Title: Chivalrous (Valiant Hearts, #2)
Author: Dina L. Sleiman
Series: Valiant Hearts #2
Genre: Teen Reads, Historical Fiction
Published by: Bethany House
Published on: 8 September 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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Strong and adventurous Gwendolyn Barnes longs to be a knight like her chivalrous brothers. However, that is not an option for her, not even in the Arthurian-inspired Eden where she dwells. Her parents view her only as a marriage pawn, and her domineering father is determined to see her wed to a brutish man who will break her spirit.
When handsome, good-hearted Allen of Ellsworth arrives in Edendale searching for his place in the world, Gwendolyn spies in him the sort of fellow she could imagine marrying. Yet fate seems determined to keep them apart. Tournaments, intrigue, and battles--along with twists and turns aplenty--await these two as they struggle to find love, identity, and their true destinies.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.